Starting Sunday, April 14th, Governor Eric Holcomb has proclaimed this week as Public Safety Telecommunicator Week. You know them as emergency dispatchers.
“I was out of work at the time, I was taking care of my child, and I’ve always been interested in law enforcement, but running after people was never my thing,” says Melisa Cross, a regional dispatcher at the Fort Wayne Regional Dispatch Center.
She started her career 8 years ago. The trauma police officers see was never something she wanted to come across, but Melisa wanted to help people.
“I know a lot of times by the government we’re referred to as like a “secretary” position, but we’re way more than that,” she explains.
More as in helping stranded motorists, communicating with officers to keep them safe, or as Melisa calls it, she’s a life preserver.
“If they needed help, we try to be there for them, and get them the help they need.”
The same time Melisa started her career, Trooper Jeff Goehring started his as a dispatcher, too.
“My ultimate goal was to become a trooper. There was a dispatcher position that became open, I figured it’d be a good way to learn as much as I could about becoming a trooper before I actually got accepted to become a trooper, explains Trooper Goehring.
From day one as a police officer, Trooper Goehring’s role as a dispatcher gave him an advantage.
“I got to see how the Indiana State Police works. I got to see how they speak, I got to see how they act, how to carry myself as a trooper, before actually becoming a trooper.”
During the Public Safety Telecommunicator Week, dispatchers, like Melisa, are being recognized across the state–sometimes a thankless job.
“As a dispatcher you’re helping out more than what people really think about. They’re the first line,” says Trooper Goehring.
The Fort Wayne Regional Dispatch Center is also taking this week to encourage those interested in a law enforcement career. Even if you don’t want to be out on the streets, this could be a job for you. However, if you do want to work toward being a police officer, they say this a great starting point.